Streamlined visa application system launches in US

14 Jul 16



What is the change? A streamlined visa application called “Access UK” has launched for individuals applying in the United States for U.K. visitor visas.

What does the change mean? The system has several improvements, including a more concise form, online payment, online biometric appointment booking, translations into more languages, mobile-device compatibility, and integration with priority and super-priority services.

  • Implementation time frame: Immediate.
  • Visas/permits affected: Standard Visitor Visas, Visitor (Marriage & Civil Partnership) and Visitor (Permitted Paid Engagement) Visas.
  • Who is affected: Applicants for visitor visas applying in the U.S. and other countries where the service is available.
  • Impact on processing times: The new system will improve the overall application process but will not directly impact government processing times.
  • Business Impact: Business visitors will benefit from a more convenient process.
  • Next steps: More information is available at the Access UK website. The system will not affect applications already submitted through Visa4UK. Eventually, affected users will be redirected to Access UK.

Background: After a successful introduction in China and India, Access UK is being introduced in additional countries, including the U.S. The system has also recently been introduced to applicants in the Philippines, South Africa, Thailand and Turkey, and to visitors in the U.K. who want to extend their visas. It is expected to be available worldwide by the end of the summer.

Visitor visa applicants may use Access UK to fill out the application form, book a biometrics appointment and pay the government processing fees using standard service, priority or super-priority visa service where available. The application forms are available in several languages, including Arabic, Chinese, Russian, Thai, Turkish, Urdu and more to be added, although the form must be filled out in English.

BAL Analysis: The new online system will simplify the application process for visitors, including business travelers, allowing them to complete all necessary steps through a single portal rather than having to navigate multiple websites.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group in the United Kingdom. For additional information, please contact

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